Hearts 1-0 Auchinleck Talbot

By Clive LindsayBBC Scotland

Auchinleck Talbot goalkeeper Andy Leishman's penalty joy turned to heartbreak as the Juniors suffered a narrow Scottish Cup loss at Tynecastle.

Leishman saved in the 20th minute as debutant Fraser Mullen notched up Hearts' fourth consecutive penalty miss from four different players.

Both sides missed chances, with the top-flight outfit increasingly nervous.

But Leishman fumbled in a clash with captain Bryan Slaven for Gordon Smith to slot home after 84 minutes.

In the end, it effectively ended the Junior Cup holders' hopes of one of the biggest shocks in Scottish Cup history, although they looked to be hard done-by when Gordon Pope had the ball in the net but was ruled offside by referee John Beaton in stoppage time.

Hearts manager Paulo Sergio had not only given Mullen his first start but handed rare outings to Darren Barr, Andrew Driver, Arvydas Novikovas and Rudi Skacel in a game in which the Scottish Premier League side were expected to outclass their part-time opponents.

Andy Leishman (right)
Leishman (right) saved a penalty but contributed to Hearts' goal

Auchinleck, sitting mid-table in the West Superleague, were not hindered by nerves early on, although it was Hearts who looked the more dangerous.

Driver, who was the home side's biggest threat in the early stages, was booked after 10 minutes for a dive inside the box when it was the Hearts winger himself who was doing the shirt-pulling.

Hearts were awarded a penalty when Novikovas collapsed under a Gordon Pope challenge, but Mullen's low penalty was too close to Leishman and the goalkeeper palmed the ball wide for a corner.

Home striker Scott Robinson was lucky not to have been shown more than a yellow card for a high challenge on Keir Milliken, who followed that up with a low drive across the face of the Hearts goal.

Hearts had claims for another penalty waved away when Novikovas went down - it looked like a defender Ricky Robb's toe got the slightest of touches to the ball - and Andy Webster headed off target from the resulting corner.

The home side were ramping up the pressure, but Auchinleck were increasingly dangerous on the break.

Kyle Faulds missed the ball completely with an attempted header in front of goal then Milliken stubbed his half-volley attempt straight at goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald.

Interview - Auchinleck Talbot manager Tommy Sloan

Robb cleared from in front of his own goal and James Latta lashed the ball just over his own crossbar, but the visitors survived the barrage to go in all-square at half-time.

David Templeton and another debutant, striker Jordan Morton, who has just finished a loan spell with Cowdenbeath, came on for Hearts at the break in place of Novikovas and Danny Grainger.

The Ayrshire side replaced Milliken with Mick McCann up front but were increasingly camped inside their own half.

Hearts lost Barr to a cut above his eye after 65 minutes, with Gary Glen becoming the Edinburgh side's final substitution following a five-minute wait before the defender exited on a stetcher.

Leishman denied Hearts again, saving well at point-blank range to deny Skacel's thundering effort after being put clear inside the box by Templeton.

However, a mix up between the goalkeeper and substitute Slaven, who has captained Auchinleck to two Junior Cup triumphs, allowed replacement Smith to place the ball into the corner of the net.

Leishman redeemed himself with a save from Templeton before the visitors had what they hoped was a famous equaliser controversially chalked off.

Live text commentaryexternal-link